Operating budget grows by more than 30 percent
On Tuesday Mayor Larry Langford proposed to the Birmingham City Council a $429 million operating budget, but the companion capital budget was conspicuously missing.
Langford told reporters that he was not required to submit the capital budget by the May 20 deadline, but the Mayor-Council Act says differently.
The relevant portion of the Mayor-Council act reads:
Sec. 5.02 Submission of budgets.
On a day to be fixed by the council but in no case later than the 20th day of May in each
year, the mayor shall submit to the council:
(a) a separate current revenue and expense budget for the general operation of the
city government, to be known as the "general fund budget";
(b) a budget for each public utility owned and operated by such city;
(c) a capital budget; and
(d) a budget message.
Meanwhile, the operating budget Langford did propose includes nearly $100 million in increases over the previous administration's budget this time last year.
Unlike budgets from previous years, this one includes two new revenue streams - surplus from the 2007-2008 fiscal year and projected salary surpluses from 2008-2009. Combined with a projected $64 million in new revenue from tax and fee hikes passed last December, the new revenue streams account for most of the $100 million difference, if the projections prove accurate.
While the mayor has not provided a capital budget by the statutory deadline, there are apparent capital expenses included in the operating budget, such as funding for a domed stadium, Fair Park revitalization and a new downtown trolley system.
Despite half the budget being missing, Councilor Joel Montgomery thanked the mayor for delivering the budget to the council on time.